Published Mar 21, 2001
I'm in tears. I've been an RN for 7 months and working in a hospital med-surg unit.On a good night it's great, but that's few and far between. On a bad night, like tonight, chronically short on CNA help etc., the stress is so bad for me. Tonight I had to send a pt to ICU, I literally NEVER caught up on charting, had blood to hang, etc, and never even peed until I was about to burst.So would I be a true failure if I decided that for me, the stress is too much?
I work on a med/surg unit and we usually have 10 to 12 patients apiece.....if we are "lucky" enough to start off with 9 then we get admissions. Many, many nights, our CNAs split the floor...31 patients and 2 CNAs, with 3 RNs. The stress level can get unreal, but before you hang it up, consider your options......you could transfer to somewhere with lower stress (or, at least, fewer patients). You could go to part-time. You could take a couple weeks vacation or time off to think about things. I wouldn't just quit because of the stress. There are other ways to deal with it......
I know you're a relatively new nurse, but whatever you do, don't make it your problem. One of the reasons nursing has not progressed, in my opinion, is because they're hard on themselves and tend to blame themselves when it's not warranted. It is unreasonable to expect a nurse to give prudent and judicious care with ten or twelve patients plus admissions, transfer, etc. It's not right and believe me, administration is well aware of that. If you want to stay to get more experience then you have to realize you are doing the best you can in an unsafe environment. If you leave, you are not a failure.
You are NOT alone. I also have been a nurse for 7-8 months. I also have my days where I think serving fries and bugers would be much better...
But then i have a pt smile and say "thank-you" It makes you feel like it is all worth it. Maybe you need to be in a different unit...maybe paeds. I know that if I had to deal with adults all day I would be not happy. Maybe ask your manager is you could go and observe another floor for 1-2 days, and see if you would like it better.
We DO NOT need to stay in jobs that are worring us. and stressing us.
I was also in this situation. When I was a new grad I found employment on an ortho floor. Everything progressed well until after orientation when everyone was so busy that noone was there to help. As a new grad, I was really overwhelmed and only stayed a few more weeks. That has been awhile back but I wouldn't have done anything differently looking back. Interestingly enough, I was brave enough to interview there awhile back for a critical care unit. They saw that I had left before after just a few months, and I was repeatly asked why I didn't seek the help of the charge nurse and unit manager (yeah right). Needless to say, I wasn't offered the job. Just think things through, and do what makes you happy and less stressed out.
Scooter: Time to get a different nursing job. Where are you working? There are a ton of hospitals in this area. Don't give up on nursing because of your experience in one facility.
sharann, BSN, RN
Been there, felt that. Hang in there. My best advice now is just to hang in there until you get a year exp.,then either demand(nicely at first)a new shift, schedule or whatever, or to move to a new unit. Either that, or quit.There is a shortage you know! Please TELL the hospital WHY you are leaving.It may help the next poor schmuck.
I am feeling a little better. Last night was wildly busy too, but a better night overall. Not all nurses are the same...for some of us our personalities just don't handle stress as smoothly as others, but that doesn't mean we can't be an effective nurse. I do want to stay, I love being a nurse. I just feel like if I don't turn every patient every two hours, tend to all the details, I am letting the pt down.
I am glad to hear that you are feeling better! I too am an RN with only 7 months experience and have come home many times in tears. I think that as we gain experience and our crtital thinking skills improve, it will get better. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed!! I don't and I know sometimes my co-workers are very busy with their own time constrained work load, but I have found that they will willingly help and appreciate that I ask when in doubt and seek help when I am feeling overwhelmed. We have to put our patients first!! I just really wanted you to know you are not alone. I still want to toss my cookies everytime I sit down to tape report and pray I have done everything I needed to and didn't miss anything!
I can't even tell you how much better your posting made me feel. I too am a new nurse (been working for only 3 months). Yes "good" nights are few and far between. Last night was terrible. Is it something about the personality of people that go into nursing? We all tend to take everything so personally. I've always considered myself to be pretty laid back. This job has proven me wrong. Every night I get home and re-play all the events of the evening in my head. Did I forget to chart on this one? Did I miss a S/S in that one? I make myself crazy with all of it sometimes. I've been offered office jobs by a couple of the MDs at work and I've seriously been considering taking one. Except for the fact that I'd feel like a "failure" for leaving the floor so soon. Anybody have any tips for stress relief? Or at least any tips for turning off the "little man" in my head when i get home from work at night?
DON'T GIVE UP!!!
I have been an RN for 23 years in a large Chgo. hospital and a preceptor for countless new RN's. Most of the time the problem is in two areas beyond your control. First most nursing schools despite the program don't provide enough clinical time for learning and doing skills. Second few if any provide experience in coodinating more than 1-2 patients at a time. Any wonder you feel overwhelmed? FIND A MENTOR! Many RN's will brush you off. You've been through orientation / What's your problem? That is unfair. On your unit their must be one seasoned RN who you respect and admire. Latch on. It takes about a year to feel comfortable will all the technical skills not to mention organizing time and priorties to take care of multiple patients and that is on a good day when none of your patients crashes. I have stayed at the bedside working staff rather than going up the promotion chain just for those reasons. I love my work and that includes being a good mentor. It will work for you but it will take time and you will learn more than you thought possible.
Arlene Cowen RN
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